david brooks wrote a cursory, pop-psychological/sociological assessment of the mel gibson crazypants spousal abuse clusterfuck in today’s new york times. one reader comments:
“I would question whether a career ender should be based on a private telephone conversation involving a romantic break-up. Wouldn’t all such conversations be shockers to outsiders? The speakers always sounding like monsters? Can we really judge people by their lowest private moments, when extreme emotional shock drives people to the brink of insanity and irrationality?”
i don’t know. but i do know i never threatened my exes with murder or assault; never alluded to punching them in the mouth and knocking their teeth out; never, in fact, punched them in the mouth or knocked their teeth out; never threatened arson because i didn’t get my libidinous way. and none of my exes have ever said these kinds of violent, abusive things to me, either.
based on what i could gather from gibson’s panting, ranting craziness, he was pissed off because his girlfriend had fallen asleep waiting up for him, and consequently he didn’t get the blow job he was expecting. does missing out on a single instance of oral sex (or any other kind) seriously represent “extreme emotional shock”? i’m sorry, but this verges WAY too close to the kind of boys-will-be-boys catch-22 that dictates that women are entirely responsible for restricting the out-of-control libidos of men, but damned if you do, honey, because that will just make them threaten to burn your house down. put on your big boy panties and deal with it, mel.
now, i’m all for privacy, and i think grigorieva’s first move should have been to turn the tapes over to the police instead of to radaronline (i don’t know enough about the situation to know whether she did or didn’t, or in what order). i can say this: i would be embarrassed if my boss somehow got a hold of any of my private conversations that occurred in the context of a breakup. but would i fear for my job? HELL NO. i think people should own their actions, and i don’t think you should treat anyone in a way you’re not proud of, a way that any reasonable person wouldn’t be able to empathize with. under difficult circumstances, can you make a defensible case for expressing impatience, frustration, even anger? sure. can you make a case for abuse? no. never.